The most fun restaurants in nj?

Well the word fun is subjective, but let’s hear your favorites. It can be everything from fine dining to hole in the wall spots, and everything in between. Everyone likes different venues so let’s hear about some cool spots that you like. The goal here is to not focus on the tastiest food but more of a fun atmosphere and unique experience. Obviously we all love good food, but let’s talk outside the box and lend some insight into unique eating experiences…

Some criteria I can think of, but not limited to…

Great views
Cooking your own dinner
Dive bars and bar food
Interesting cocktails and craft beer
Ethnic cuisine
Family style dining
Nice venue/architecture
Exotic dishes /meats
Food trucks
Farm to table / local ingredients
Large party/group dining
Unique fusion dishes
Off the wall portions / dishes (we may have to have Jr post the pierre story in this thread lol…possibly the best food story I’ve ever heard! )

@joonjoon I am counting on you bud…I think this thread is right up your alley! Have a drink on me and let’s hear some intel.

I’ll stop there but you guys get the point. Hopefully this gets some action

@MZ z man are you out there buddy? We need some charisma in this thread

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I’ll play!

Nice venue/architecture - The Raven & The Peach, Rumson even though the food is a little hit or miss I LOVE the space.

Great views - Sky Café, Pittstown. Awesome spot at a small airport to watch the plans take off and land. Fun for kids of all ages!

Ethnic cuisine - Tacos Cancun, Lambertville. Authentico, super delicious, but I haven’t really had a bad taco from any of these little spots.

Large party/group dining - Big Ed’s BBQ, Old Bridge. I don’t know the group consensus here on Big Ed’s but every time we take a group, it is a big hit.

Great views (beach and people watching) and cocktails - Watermark, Asbury Park. I recommend this only if you time it right. We like it for an afternoon beach cocktail but I have heard the club at night gets crazy.

This is what I’ve got off the top of my head. I’ll add more if I think of any.

FWIW, I love Costa Chica’s decor.

Even the ducts are funky:

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Finally someone else who feel’s the same as I do!!! The Raven is my favorite restaurant in the area for the 24+ years I have lived in Monmouth County. Sadly the food has been hit or miss over the years, although their recent steakhouse menu items are pretty solid, I still love this place.

I know I have mentioned Old Glory in Keyport before. The remodeled church has turned into a fun spot for us. The large picnic table styled dining area for groups, the indoor/outdoor dining for smaller parties or the lounge for you crawlers, its a fun space.

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Friends of ours had an engagement party here years ago and it had such a vintage, fun feel to it. I love the palm trees, the art deco wood and lights, the guy playing piano, the fact that they have valet for a lot that totally doesn’t need it.

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I can’t help but notice I wasn’t tagged in your post, what I’m not fun Johnny? I don’t make you laugh?

Hand’s down # 1 “fun” bar with food is Johnny Mac’s in Asbury Park. In today’s day and age where are you getting legit pours of bloody mary’s or mimosa’s for $ 3.00 with a FREE omelette. (or free pizza after 2pm with purchase of a drink) Also they have free Halloween candy (if you can find it’s hiding place) ski ball, and enough trivia written on the walls to keep Alex Trebec busy for a few days. This is all without any of their theme nights or entertainment or the out side. This place is FUN !!

Second “fun” bar with food is Murphy’s in Rumson. It’s fun appeal is in the fact that it is a hidden gem. Plus any bar with a good shuffle board table is a good spot for me!!

NJ in general seems to be the Hibachi capital of the world. So many good and fun Hibachi places around it’s hard to just pick one.

Restaurant and good bar scene that is fun, Porta. I’m not a big fan of the place in general but it is fun.

Family Fun, I’m going to give a pitch for a chain, Texas Roadhouse. Anytime you can throw food items on the floor (peanut shells) and the staff does line dancing plus they have several things geared towards kids like an all you can eat ice cream bar. It’s a fun place even if it’s not my particular kind of fun.

Sunday Game Day Fun, Fox and Hound Menlo Park Mall. It’s a sports bar / restaurant with pool tables plenty of TV’s and dart boards etc. Good place to hang with some friends and watch the games.

Shore Fun, I’m going with Rooney’s Crab House and Avenue in Pier Village. Although I think Rooney’s is over priced anymore it’s still one of my favorite beach front restaurants. I truly enjoy dining when the back dining room is wide open with that ocean breeze. The outdoor bar was one of the first of it’s type in the area and when they have entertainment it’s a great place to sit and enjoy some cocktails on the beach.

Avenue Roof Top is in a league all it’s own. Honestly I’m a bit too old for that scene anymore but I certainly enjoyed many a nights at the Roof Top lounge there, something you should experience at least once.

Formal Fun; I’m going with the Highlawn Pavilion in West Orange NJ. This isn’t a typical “fun” place, but they do have an open kitchen where you can watch the masters at work, plus the dinning room sit’s upon a large hill small mountain overlooking Northern Jersey with breathtaking views. Always a scary treat when a small plane flies by, you swear it’s coming right into the dining room.

On the same line I’m throwing in The Manor in West Orange for the Friday night seafood buffet. Perhaps this is more personal for me since my grandmother use to love this place and I’ve been going since I was a child. There is something I enjoy about a throw back, men must wear jackets, and an all you can eat lobster buffet. It’s truly one of a kind and a very fun night.

One more north Jersey “fun” place is Sammy’s Cider Mill, Mendham. Similar to Murphy’ s above if you don’t know it’s there, well then you don’t know it’s there. The basement bar and casual yet formal atmosphere makes for a fun night and an excellent meal.

That’s all I can come up with now, will check back and add some if I think of any more.

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JR, Johnny Macs is the kind of pub that takes its fun seriously! It used to be even funner when there was ample free parking in NJ Transit lot across the street. Finding parking is what makes Asbury not so fun :angry:


I’m not vouching for the food (haven’t been in a long time) but Hunan Taste in Denville is a trip for decor inside and out. I need to google an image and post …


Fun is wherever Notjr chooses to have an eating challenge.


Or more than 4 martini’s !!!


I’m in for both of those!

I’ll also toss Jack’s in WLB for a fun place to eat. With more big screens than I can count and some arcade games too, one can almost takes one’s eyes off the wings to watch or play.


The Sandbox Cafe in Ship Bottom on LBI serves a great breakfast in a crazily decorated outdoor cafe. They also have an indoor place in Surf City where the food is just as good but not the same funky vibe.

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I don’t tag the legendary Jr since there is no need to. If you bring something interesting, he will come! Im joking around but you are always are on top of the food threads. I’ll tag you up on future posts but I know you’re on your game…always.

I’ll get back to some spots I like soon. Heading out now…

So far this seems like a “fun” thread :slight_smile:

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You have reminded me of two places I need to get to again.

Sammy’s out in Mendham used to be great, super crowded for a reason. I loved their shrimp scampi, it was probably 1/2 shrimp and 1/2 garlic.

Highlawn Pavillion, great views and good food in the old days. Would like to see how the food is these days.

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I haven’t been to either in a long time myself. I never had the shrimp scampi at Sammy’s, I always went for a steak. High lawn I went to a 50th birthday party to which was great but haven’t had ala’ carte in a long time.

Not one mention of Papa John’s?

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Lol. Does anyone remember razzmatazz? I also played quite a few video games at the Eatontown roller rink

So there are definitely some cool recommendations so far.

@NotJrvedivici Johnny macs definitely has some charisma. There are some real characters in there. It kind of reminds me of the Walt street pub. You can be sitting next to a guy from rumson with his Bentley out front or a homeless guy lol

I totally agree. That is one reason why I rarely go there.

Damn that’s a great list people. But how has everyone failed to mention Medieval Times? That place is epic, and I’ve honestly never had a bad meal there.

My current favorite fun place in NJ is probably Meng Gao Yang in Edison. It’s a DIY northern Chinese BBQ places with some Korean inflcence. I mean what’s not fun about getting a whole leg of lamb on a spit in front of you that you can slice n eat?

Or getting a crap ton of skewers with tons of weird and offal parts to choose from?

And they have tons of dishes that I have never seen anywhere else. Every time eating at this place is like a choose your own dining adventure for me.

Along similar lines, I guess I really love DIY restaurants in general, Shabu Shabu/Hot Pot in particular. It’s not my favorite, but I like going to Thumbs Up in Edison when I want to be completely overwhelmed by my choices. I’m not aware of any other place that has things like duck tongue on their menu. For a more civilized experience, there’s always Little Sheep around the corner.

Oh, one last place to note - the Bond St Complex is a fun place to “explore.,” I mean you can do all the exploring in a couple minutes, but it’s the only place I know of where there are so many different establishments connected together. There’s a Mexican restaurant, an Italian side, and a frat bar like hangout area downstairs. And of course the original Bond St. It’s a good area to snack and drink, and one of the only places left in Asbury that doesn’t drive me insane.

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